Rio Nuevo billing becomes campaign issue for Rothschild

In one month alone, the new Rio Nuevo District was forced to spend monies on legal fees for work with Mayor Rothschild’s firm on 7/16/2010, 7/19/2010, 7/20/10, 7/26/2010 x2, 7/29/2010 x2.  However, on Friday April 29, 2011, Tucson City Attorney Mike Rankin wrote a constituent who had inquired about Rothschild’s Rio Nuevo billing:

Date: Fri, 29 Apr 2011 10:02:00 -0700
From: Mike.Rankin@tucsonaz.gov
To:XXXXX
CC: Mark.Neihart@tucsonaz.gov; Sean.McBride@tucsonaz.gov
Subject: RE: Rothschild, Mesch, & Clark

XXXX,
we have not hired Jonathan Rothschild for any representation. As you know, his firm has long had a contract with us and has represented us on many cases over the years, including some of our most high-profile, high-exposure cases such as wrongful death actions, the CAP litigation and the Rollings water damage claims.
I reviewed information on your request yesterday and believe that I will have the documents for you today or Monday (as I am not here for very long today).

Now, Democratic mayoral candidate Jonathan Rothschild’s millions in legal billings have become an issue in Tucson’s upcoming election. Republican Party chairwoman Carolyn Cox told the  Arizona Daily Star in an article today, “Certainly, there’s a conflict of interest. Even if he were to back away and resign and not do any work on any of the cases, the law firm still benefits his family,” she said.

Rothschild’s firm has billed the city of Tucson over $3.2 million over the years for work done on projects, including the controversial Rio Nuevo project.

According to the Star, “Rothschild still has an open contract with the city, allowing it to be assigned cases without bidding or a competitive selection process.”

“Jonathan Rothschild’s relationship to the city is not a sin.” However Mike Ebert, a Pima County GOP officer questions Rothschild’s leadership, “The problem is he has been part of the problem with Tucson’s leadership void, and now that he is separating himself from his law firm he is going to be part of the solution?”

Republicans question whether a person who was so intimately involved with the legal issues of Rio Nuevo can now objectively enter into discussions and negotiations which may focus on the past performance of and future remedies related to the city and Rio Nuevo.

The Arizona Daily Star cites an email sent out by Pima County Republican Party,  “We cannot trust Mr. Rothschild, a man who is joined at the hip with the current Democrats on City Council.”

Mesch, Clark and Rothschild billing statements
click on image to enlarge